Ann Arbor — Michigan safety Josh Metellus was ejected along with Minnesota offensive lineman Donnell Greene, who was the aggressor in a fight late in the third quarter, but Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he never received a reasonable explanation why his player was kicked out of Saturday’s victory over Minnesota.
Tyree Kinnel pushed Greene after a play, and Greene clocked him in the face with his right fist. Kinnel immediately backed away and looked toward the referee. That’s when Metellus moved toward Greene and they appeared to be face to face when Greene pushed him.
“There was a little pushing going on,” Kinnel said. “I was pushing him off one of my players, but it was definitely in between the whistle and that reaction wasn’t so deserving. I don’t think that reaction from 73 (Greene) was very deserving, but it happened and my teammates came in and got my back. The ref wanted to control the game so he felt like they should call it both teams and they ended up getting Josh Metellus. It’s an unfortunate situation. Hopefully we can learn from it, but I definitely think it was on them.”
Harbaugh did not look pleased with how the ref explained Metellus’ ejection. Metellus will have to sit out the first half of next week’s game at Maryland.
“Didn’t have a lot of logic to it,” Harbaugh said. “It didn’t seem like (Metellus) threw a punch. (The ref) said because there was a scrum that they weren’t going to lose control of the game and made offsetting penalties. That was about the gist of it. My counter argument to that was a guy threw a punch, our guy stood in front of a guy. Maybe he shouldn’t have walked back in there. Told him that, ‘Josh, you shouldn’t be walking in there like that.’ ”
Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck was disappointed in Greene’s reaction.
“That’s not our culture,” Fleck told reporters. “That’s unacceptable 100 percent. He gets ejected. A hundred percent unacceptable. That’s not what we’re about whatsoever. He’ll have to pay the price for that.”
Senior linebacker and co-captain Mike McCray assumed Greene was frustrated with the game. In the third quarter, the Gophers had minus-33 yards of offense.
“In my opinion, Josh didn’t deserve to get kicked out because he didn’t throw any punches or anything,” McCray said. “(Greene) was probably angry they were losing. We did a good job of keeping our composure. We’ll be all right.”